Eleventh Circuit Court of Appeals - Published Opinions

Friday, May 27, 2011

Pietri: Failure to Present Metabolic Intoxication Defense not Ineffective

In Pietri v. Florida Dep’t of Corrections, No. 09-11750 (May 25, 2011), the Court affirmed the denial of habeas relief to a Florida inmate sentenced to death for a 1988 murder.

The Court rejected the argument that counsel were ineffective for failing to put on an “metabolic intoxication” defense. The Court noted that Pietri did not show that he was intoxicated at the time of the murder, and that “metabolic intoxication” was not a cognizable under Florida law at the time of Pietri’s trial.

The Court also rejected the argument that counsel were ineffective at the penalty phase for failing to present mitigating evidence. The Court found that trial counsel strategically decided not to present some of the mental health experts they consulted.